Krylov defeated former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 280 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi. He’s won back-to-back fights after losing matchups against Paul Craig and Magomed Ankalaev.
Krylov didn’t waste an opportunity to call for his next opponent after the win. He called out Smith and hoped that he wouldn’t be “scared” to clash inside the Octagon.
Smith, who lost to Ankalaev via a second-round TKO at UFC 277, is looking to get back into title contention. He feels that a matchup with Krylov could be a key part in advancing him forward into the title picture.
Anthony Smith Accepts Nikita Krylov’s Offer: “I’m Totally Down”
While working at UFC 280 for ESPN as an analyst, Smith got word of Krylov’s post-fight callout.
“Scared?” Smith said. “I have a lot of respect for Nikita Krylov. I said several times before that he’s kind of the dark horse in the division. He put [Alexander Gustafsson’s] lights out fast. Like nobody gets rid of Gustafsson like that. I fought him and it took me four rounds to get him out of there. I’ve got a lot of respect for that guy.
“The answer is and always is to everybody in the division — yes. I’m totally down. Maybe March? I’m in.” (h/t MMA Fighting)
Before the loss to Ankalaev, Smith won three-straight fights, including most recently against Ryan Spann in Sept. 2021. He also finished Jimmy Crute and Devin Clark.
Krylov slept Alexander Gustafsson at UFC London back in July. The victory snapped a recent losing skid and got him back on track in the light heavyweight division.
Smith vs. Krylov may fit for UFC 285 in March, although it may also make sense for a UFC Fight Night event if the UFC decides to go in that direction. Regardless, both sides seem on the same page for a potential fight.
What do you think about a potential Anthony Smith vs. Nikita Krylov fight?